Armenian Ex-President Sarkisian Investigated In New Graft Case

Former Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian is being prosecuted in a new corruption case, officials and his lawyer say.

Marina Ohanjanian, a spokesperson for the Anti-Corruption Committee, confirmed on November 22 Sarkisian’s status as an accused party in the criminal case. She did not provide details.

The Anti-Corruption Committee was set up earlier this year to prosecute corruption-related crimes.

Earlier on November 22, Sarkisian’s lawyer announced that his client had been summoned by the committee to be interrogated in a new criminal case.

The case is linked to testimony made against Sarkisian, who was president between 2008 and 2018, by a woman identified only as Silva, lawyer Amram Makinian wrote on Facebook.

Makinian was apparently referring to businesswoman Silva Hambardzumian, whose name has been associated with a high-profile corruption case against another former Armenian president, Robert Kocharian.

“The irony is that, after 3 1/2 years, they have decided that Silva would testify that she gave a bribe to Serzh Sarkisian too,” the lawyer said.

“As part of the same case, Serzh Sarkisian was questioned as a witness two years ago, and no new circumstances have emerged legally since then,” he wrote, suggesting that the case had been initiated for political reasons.

Sarkisian went on trial in Yerevan a year ago to face corruption charges he has also rejected as being politically motivated.

The ex-president is accused of organizing the embezzlement of about $1 million in relation to the alleged misappropriation of fuel.

Sarkisian is also suspected of abuse of power in a criminal case launched last month over the alleged misappropriation of state money.

The case was opened after a leading Armenian investigation website, the Fact Investigation Platform, reported that during Sarkisian’s tenure as president, the presidential plane made more than a dozen flights to the German resort of Baden-Baden at the expense of the budget.

Sarkisian and members of his political team also reject these allegations as politically motivated.